CBL & Associates Properties Inc. on Tuesday posted higher third-quarter earnings as sales, occupancy and rental spreads rose in the period over a year ago.
CBL reported that funds from operations totaled $84.9 million in the quarter. FFO per share grew 12.5 percent in the period to 54 cents compared to 48 cents a year ago.
The Chattanooga-based company beat the consensus analyst estimate of 51 cents per share.
"Strong performance from our portfolio of market dominant malls led to another solid quarter," said Stephen Lebovitz, CBL's president and chief executive officer, in a statement after the market's close.
Same-store sales increased 4.2 percent to $344 per square foot for mall tenants 10,000 square feet or less for malls for the rolling 12 months ended Sept. 30, the Chattanooga-based company reported.
Average gross rent for stabilized mall leases signed in the third quarter increased 9.2 percent over the prior gross rent per square foot, the company said.
The company offered 2012 FFO guidance in the range of $2 to $2.10 per share. While that's consistent with the previously issued range, the outlook was effectively increased to offset the $3.8 million preferred redemption charge that will be recorded in the fourth quarter, according to CBL.
"[Guidance] would have been lower all things equal," said Katie Reinsmidt, CBL's senior vice president of investor relations and corporate investments.
The company's shares climbed 5 cents Tuesday to close at $22.81 per share on the New York Stock Exchange.
CBL reported that portfolio occupancy Sept. 30 increased to 93 percent in the third quarter from 91.3 percent for the prior-year period.
Lebovitz said positive trends CBL has experienced during the year show continued retailer demand for space at its properties.
"We are taking advantage of the improved trends through an active pipeline of new growth opportunities," he said, citing the opening of Waynesville Commons in Waynesville, N.C., in October and the second phase of The Outlet Shoppes at Oklahoma City in November.
Also, the redevelopments of Northgate Mall in Chattanooga and Southpark Mall in Richmond, Va., along with the construction start of The Crossings at Marshalls Creek in Stroudsburg, Pa., will provide a solid foundation for growth in 2013, Lebovitz said.
In addition, CBL on Tuesday announced it had received commitments to modify and extend its two major credit facilities, increasing the aggregate capacity by $155 million to $1.2 billion.
"It was a very productive quarter," Reinsmidt said.